Frontier Nite at the Echoplex began at 4:00, with a killer lineup of The Pontiac Brothers, The Stains, Flyboys, Rikk Agnew, and The Deadbeats leading off the jam-packed lineup, but I didn't arrive until around 9:00 after The Middle Class had already begun. You might not be familiar with the band, but you've definitely felt their influence as they are credited as being the first hardcore punk band, stripping away all the art and delivering the goods with a machine-gun like energy and speed.
The set was as solid as can be, followed up with the awesome single, “American Society,” which was first played by The Middle Clas's splinter band, Eddie and the Subtitles, and then covered by L7 on a Flipside compilation. Yes! Because I arrived late, I thought I was going to miss that song, for sure…
Next up was The Avengers. Every good punk knows that the San Francisco band opened for The Sex Pistols' final show. They sounded great last night, and singer Penelope Houston totally commanded the stage with her pipes and gestures. They opened with a ripping version of “We Are The One” and didn't look back.
The next band was the final addition to the lineup, and the only band I had seen before. But that was in their metal days opening for Guns 'n' Roses, and I really wanted to see them playing songs circa Suburbia. TSOL might have been the sloppiest, maybe even laziest, band of the evening but they still had the fiercest circle pit going. (Which sadly coincided with my photography skills getting derailed. I tried shooting the GF1 in full-on manual mode for the first time, was feeling good, and then lost it during this set.) It was fairly furious, culminating in the infamous “Code Blue.”
The headliners of Frontier's 30th anniversary celebration were Adolescents. I had vague expectations but, man, they were awesome. Their set really captured both the fun and danger of my first experiences going to punk shows, growing up behind the Orange Curtain, driving to Long Beach to buy records at Zed, and attending shows at Fender's full of skinheads and drunks. This time it wasn't quite as scary, with the older guys being really old and the younger kids being really young. “Kids of the Black Hole”!
Adolescents played all the hits before Tony went into a rant telling his son's PTA to fuck off, then ended with Iggy's “I Got a Right.” I guess even Adolescents grow up. Too bad I had to miss the first half of the sold-out show, but I left the second half stoked and feeling lucky to be old and from Orange County. Wow, I never thought I'd type those words. Thanks once more to Michael from Part Time Punks for putting on the show (did I mention that the all-vinyl DJ sets in between bands totally shred?) and Frontier Records for flying the flag, and I'd be all over a second round with Redd Kross and The Three O'Clock! The Suicidals shouldn't be on that one, though… Maybe round three with Circle Jerks and Weirdos?